The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to review the case of a truck driver convicted of second-degree murder for a 2017 crash in which a big rig veered onto a sidewalk in Palmdale and struck a pedestrian before smashing into a building.
Richard Norman Core, now 51, is serving a 15-year-to-life sentence for the June 23, 2017, crash on Palmdale Boulevard that killed Gary Burris, 65, of Palmdale.
In a ruling July 27, a three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that numerous errors were made in Core’s trial, including failing to instruct jurors on the lesser offense of vehicular manslaughter, allowing course materials from a drug rehabilitation program the defendant attended in 2013 and admitting photographs of the victim.
Two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies who responded to the crash did not suspect Core was under the influence of any drug, but a deputy who searched the truck after it was impounded found two eyeglass cases containing a few bindles of methamphetamine and two used glass pipes, according to the appellate court panel’s ruling.
Core was arrested months later after a toxicology report showed that a blood sample taken from Core after the crash contained amphetamine and methamphetamine, the justices noted.
The appellate court panel ruled that “substantial evidence supports the jury’s finding of implied malice,” noting that he was advised in his 2009 commercial driver’s license application that driving while under the influence of drugs was dangerous to human life and that he could be charged with murder if he caused someone’s death.
Core pleaded no contest before his trial to misdemeanor possession of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm by a felon, with his sentencing on those crimes running at the same time as the murder charge.
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